Envision a celestial setting where the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden hue over a beautiful beach while the melody of ocean waves serenades you. This experience awaits couples on Hawaii’s Big Island, renowned for its unparalleled beauty and romantic allure. Let’s explore some of the finest wedding venues in Kona where dreams are woven into reality amidst nature’s embrace.

Kona’s Captivating Setting:

Picture-perfect landscapes adorned with azure waters, swaying palm trees, and verdant foliage – Kona’s enchanting backdrop sets the stage for an unforgettable wedding celebration. Against this canvas of natural splendor, couples are invited to exchange vows and embark on a timeless journey of love and romance.

Some Top Picks for the perfect Hawaiian Wedding:

  1. Royal Kona Resort: Nestled along the picturesque Kailua Bay, the Royal Kona Resort beckons with its blend of luxury and Hawaiian hospitality. Exchange vows on the private beachfront, with panoramic ocean views as your witness. From intimate ceremonies to grand receptions, their seasoned wedding planners ensure every detail is crafted to perfection.
  2. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel: For the couple eloping or for a full reception of 200 guests this venue is the picture perfect spot. Renowned for its pristine white sands and translucent waters, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel epitomizes elegance and sophistication. Say “I do” beneath swaying palms on the hotel’s manicured lawn overlooking Kauna’oa Bay, followed by a sumptuous reception in one of their exquisite venues.
    Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Wedding venue at sunset

    Image Source WeddingWire 
  1. Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay: Tucked amidst lush gardens and volcanic cliffs, this resort offers a harmonious blend of Hawaiian charm and contemporary luxury. Exchange vows in their oceanfront gazebo or atop black lava rocks, followed by a reception infused with local flavors and entertainment.
  2. Sea Salt Farm: Embrace the unique charm of Kona’s Sea Salt Farm, where rustic elegance meets coastal splendor. Say your vows with your feet in the sand with the majestic Pacific Ocean as your backdrop. This one-of-a-kind venue offers a blend of natural beauty and rustic charm, perfect for couples seeking an authentic and intimate wedding experience.Wedding at Kona Sea Salt at Sunset
    Image Source: Kona Sea Salt
  3. Holualoa Garden and Kitchen: On the slope of  Hualalai in the heart of Kona Coffee  country, the recently renovated Holualoa Garden and Kitchen is not oceanfront but on your special day you will be surrounded by  elegance and romance in the picturesque town of Holualoa. Their package options include reception only or reception and ceremony.
  4. Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel: Celebrate your day at this beachfront venue in the heart of Kona with the backdrop of both mauka and makai, mountain and sea. This venue has both indoor and outdoor areas for up to 350 guests. The King Kamehameha Hotel has a full selection of wedding packages to choose from

 Package Options and Customized Services:

From intimate elopements to grand affairs, Kona’s wedding venues offer a range of package options to suit every couple’s vision and budget. Whether you prefer all-inclusive packages or personalized services tailored to your specific desires, Kona’s wedding professionals are dedicated to making your dream wedding a reality.

Guest Accommodations and Beyond:

Ensure your guests enjoy a memorable stay in Kona with a diverse selection of accommodations. Looking for a place to stay for you or your guests? Check out what we have available for your dates.


Beyond the wedding celebrations, Kona offers a myriad of activities for guests to explore, from snorkeling adventures to sunset cruises and volcano tours.

Kona is a destination for romance and natural beauty, offering couples an idyllic setting to begin their journey of love. Whether you choose to exchange vows on a secluded beach or amidst lush green gardens, Kona’s wedding venues promise to create memories that last a lifetime. 

As you drive north from Kona International Airport, leave behind the bustling airport and the modern amenities of Kailua-Kona. The rugged lava fields dominate the scenery, their ancient, jet-black and rust-red hues contrasting starkly against the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean to the west. Although your gaze may be fixed on the road ahead, it’s worth knowing that hidden amidst these barren lava fields lies the Kohala Coast, where you’ll find some of the loveliest beaches on the island. 

Kohala Coast Beaches

Hāpuna Beach State Park

The Kohala Coast is a sun-drenched region that receives only about nine inches of rainfall annually. This low precipitation rate creates a near-perpetual summer atmosphere, making it ideal for sunbathing and beach activities year-round. Hāpuna Beach State Park, one of the island’s largest expanses of white sand, exemplifies this coastal paradise. Here, the sparkling sands stretch out beneath the relentless Hawaiian sun, inviting visitors to bask in its warmth and serenity.

As you approach Hāpuna Beach, the landscape gradually softens, giving way to rolling hills and swaying palms. The sight of this expansive white-sand beach, framed by the deep blue ocean and backed by lush greenery, is truly mesmerizing. It’s a reminder of the raw beauty and diversity that characterize the island of Hawaiʻi—the juxtaposition of rugged lava fields against the inviting allure of golden beaches.

At Hapuna Beach you’ll find visitors swimming, boogie boarding, body surfing, playing in the waves, and relaxing in the powder soft sand

Mauna Kea Beach

North of Hapuna beach you’ll find  Mauna Kea Beach on the Mauna Kea Beach Resort. Although this is a public beach, visitor parking is limited so arrive early to ensure a spot.  As you approach this renowned stretch of coastline, you’re greeted by a sight that epitomizes paradise—a wide expanse of soft, pristine white sands stretching out towards the glistening turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Venturing into the crystal-clear waters reveals another facet of Mauna Kea’s allure. The tranquil sea, gently lapping against the shore, invites swimmers and snorkelers alike to immerse themselves in its refreshing embrace. The gradual slope of the beach makes it an ideal spot for families and adventurers of all ages to dip into the sea safely.

Mauna Kea Beach offers a range of activities that cater to different interests and preferences, making it a popular destination for beachgoers seeking relaxation or adventure. This is a great spot for swimming, snorkeling, whale watching and beach sports as well as relaxing and sunbathing

Beach in Kona Coast, Hawaii

Beach 69 / Waialea Beach 

Beach 69—also known as Waialea Beach—beckons those seeking a secluded and tranquil escape. Tucked away in a more remote area near Puako, this hidden gem offers a quieter alternative to the bustling tourist spots, making it ideal for those yearning for a more intimate beach experience. The beach’s nickname, “Beach 69,” is derived from the number 69 painted on a utility pole near the parking area, adding a touch of local charm to its secluded ambiance.

For those seeking relaxation amidst nature’s embrace, Beach 69 offers ample opportunities. Large trees along the shoreline, provide private, shaded areas ideal for setting up a picnic or simply lounging with a good book. On any day visitors will be able to find their own quiet spot to set up their own space.

Kiholo Bay

For more adventure, a hike into Kiholo Bay offers a rewarding expedition into the island’s natural wonders. Kiholo Bay is a pristine marine sanctuary known for its turquoise waters, lava rock formations, and resident wildlife. The hike to Kiholo Bay typically begins near the highway and leads through a rugged landscape dotted with ancient lava flows and coastal vegetation. There are no amenities at Kiholo Bay so remember to pack in water, reef-safe sunscreen and snacks.

Whichever direction you arrive from, you will be  rewarded with the chance to explore its scenic shoreline, relax on secluded beaches, or take a refreshing dip in the bay’s crystalline waters. The bay is also known for its large population of honu (green sea turtles) that can often be spotted basking on the shore or swimming gracefully in the bay’s clear waters.

To reach Kiholo Bay, there are two primary routes you can take. One option is to access the bay via a dirt road situated between the 82nd and 83rd mile markers on Highway 19. Follow this road towards the ocean for about a mile. As you approach a fork in the road, continue straight instead of veering left. At the road’s end, park your vehicle and proceed on foot straight ahead until you reach the shoreline. From there, head north (to your right) along the beach to reach Kiholo Bay.

Another approach is to take a shorter trail from Highway 19, located just south of the 81st mile marker. This trail leads directly to the northern end of Kiholo Bay. Begin your hike here and trek across approximately 20 minutes of barren and exposed pahoehoe lava flow. Despite the rugged terrain, this trail offers a more direct and scenic route to access the bay’s northern section.

All state parks charge park visitors $10 per vehicle 

So, as you explore the many beautiful Kohala Coast beaches, take a moment to appreciate this remarkable transformation—from desolate lava fields to a tropical paradise. Allow yourself to soak in the sun, unwind on the soft sands, and immerse yourself in the natural splendor that defines the Big Island’s west coast.

Looking for a place to stay? Check out what we have available for your dates.

A few great Options for Shave Ice

 

Hawaiian Ice Cone: If you’re pondering which ice cream flavor to compliment your shave ice, make a beeline for Hawaiian Ice Cones and opt for ube ice cream. This unassuming kiosk in the Kopiko Plaza near Long’s Drug is a fantastic spot to indulge in shave ice, ice cream, or bubble tea. Don’t be deterred by the line—it’s a testament to the delicious treats awaiting you! 

Scandinavian Shave Ice: Scandi’s has been located on Ali’i Drive  in the heart of Kailua Village since 1991, Scandinavian Shave Ice is renowned for its authentic Hawaiian-style shave ice. They use natural fruit syrups and offer unique flavors like lilikoi (passion fruit) and haupia (coconut cream). The ice is finely shaved, making for a delightful treat. Described as the best shave ice in Hawaii, they offer generous portions at reasonable prices.

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice: Located in the King Kamehameha Courtyard by Marriott, Ululani’s has expanded to Kona and offers delicious shave ice with a multitude of natural syrups and premium add-ons like mochi balls and ice cream. They’re known for their fluffy, finely shaved ice that melts in your mouth. For unique flavor try the Azuki bean for your ice cream

Original Big Island Shave Ice Company: If you’re in the Waikoloa Resort area try “OBISIC”. This place is located in the King’s Shops and offers a variety of shave ice options as well as amazing sundaes!. They have traditional Hawaiian flavors and also some unique combinations. Their ice cream on the bottom and snow cap on top makes for a perfect treat

Kat’s Kau Kau: If you’re having a beach day at Magic Sands Beach Park you can walk right across the street to the cute little food truck and enjoy Kat’s Kau Kau Shave Ice. The portions are shareable depending on how hungry you are! I’ve been hearing so much about their Lychee Cream that I’ll be trying that next time I go!

Colorful Hawaiian Shave Ice

Life is not just about Shave Ice

Gypsea Gelato is a popular gelato shop with three locations on the Big Island. Gypsea Gelato is known for its high-quality gelato made with many locally sourced ingredients. They offer a wide range of flavors made in small batches, including traditional favorites like chocolate and vanilla, as well as unique Hawaiian-inspired flavors such as lilikoi (passion fruit), macadamia nut, and Kona coffee. The local flavors give visitors a taste of Hawaii in every scoop. Gypsea Gelato is committed to supporting local farmers and producers by sourcing ingredients locally whenever possible, contributing to the island’s sustainable food ecosystem.

Pick from the list or commit to trying them all and enjoy your sweet adventures in Kona!

Looking for a place to stay? Check out what we have available for your dates.

Keep up on Kailua-Kona events

May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i – May 1

May Day at Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa celebrates Lei Day, a significant cultural holiday in Hawaii honoring the tradition of lei-making and the spirit of aloha. Lei Day is a time when locals and visitors come together to appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of Hawaiian lei.

At Queens’ MarketPlace, the Lei Day Entertainment includes a range of activities and performances. This may feature live music and hula performances, showcasing traditional Hawaiian songs and dances. Visitors can expect to see local artisans demonstrating lei-making techniques, creating beautiful floral and cultural lei designs.

Waikoloa Community Market – May 4

The Waikoloa Village now boasts its very own Community Market, a vibrant monthly event held on the first Saturday of each month from 8am to 12pm. With over 40 vendors participating year-round, this market offers a delightful array of goods including fresh produce, plants, eggs, fish, bakery items, artisan foods, artwork, jewelry, crafts, and live music. Residents and visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the sunny atmosphere of Waikoloa Village, supporting local businesses and connecting with the creative spirit of the community. This market promises a delightful opportunity to explore and engage with a diverse range of local offerings in a picturesque setting.

Kona Orchid Society Mother’s Day Show & Sale – May 11

The Kona Orchid Society Mother’s Day Show & Sale is the society’s most popular event. From 9am to 2pm at the Makaeo County Pavilion in the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area visitors can enjoy a showcase of blooming orchids displayed by club members and can purchase healthy plants from local growers. The sale extends beyond orchids to include cactus, succulents, air plants, bonsai, protea, fruit trees, exotic tropicals, water plants, herbs, vegetable starts, and bedding plants.

More Local vendors

Moreover, attendees can explore a range of additional offerings including jams, jellies, arts and crafts, and high-fire functional stoneware. Interact with growers and master gardeners on-site, for valuable growing tips and insights. An ideal event for Mother’s Day weekend. https://www.konaorchidsociety.org/

20th Annual Celebration of Life – May 26

This is the Big Island’s largest lantern floating event, Celebration of Life. It is free and open to the public at Reeds Bay in Hilo. Join us to be part of the uplifting, heart-moving event where we will honor our loved ones who have passed in remembrance and reflection of love. There will be live music, Bon Dance and Hula Halau performances, local food trucks and vendors, baked goods sales, and much more. 


Ongoing Kailua-Kona Events

Kokua Kailua Village Stroll: May 19

Once a month, on Alii Drive near the Pier, the street is closed for the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll. From 1-6 pm, the street transforms into a bustling market with local vendors and artists’ booths. Explore the vibrant stalls, shop for unique crafts and souvenirs, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Leashed dogs are also welcome, so feel free to bring your furry friends along for the stroll. This event is a perfect opportunity to support local businesses and artists while immersing yourself in the lively spirit of Kailua-Kona.

Free Hawaiian Music and Hula Show

Every Friday at Keauhou Shopping Center, you can enjoy a free Hawaiian music and hula show in the center courtyard from 6-7pm. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Hawai’i as talented musicians and graceful hula dancers take the stage. This weekly event is a fantastic opportunity to experience the beauty and artistry of traditional Hawaiian music and dance.

First Friday After Dark in Holualoa

On the first Friday of every month, the quaint village of Holualoa comes alive with a block party. From 5:30-8:30pm, locals and visitors gather to explore the town’s art galleries and boutiques, listen to live music, and indulge in gourmet “grab and go” food. This festive event is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local art and culture scene while enjoying the warm hospitality of the community.

Food Truck Fridays

Every Friday 4-8pm you’ll find a mini food truck festival with tastes to satisfy every palate. In the Target Kona parking lot you can feed the whole family with choices of BBQ, Mexican food, Thai food, desserts, and, of course, great coffee! Check here for more information about Food Truck Fridays

Deli Sandwich and Chips

Visit Queen’s Marketplace for more ongoing events 

Join ukulele lessons, Wednesday hula shows, and outdoor movies every month in the Coronation Pavilion.

Kanikapila Monthly Concert Series

Discover Hawai‘i Island’s best musical talents at Queens’ Marketplace’s Kanikapila Monthly Concert Series sponsored by KWXX, every third Saturday of the month. 

Every Third Saturday of the Month | 6 PM | Coronation Pavilion

 

More to come in June!

June 11: King Kamehameha Day, Island-Wide

State-wide celebrations honoring King Kamehameha the Great, the monarch who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawaii. Celebrations include floral parades and performances. In Kona the Floral Parade goes from 9 am to 11:30 am, followed by a celebration at Huliheʻe Palace from 11:30 am to 3 pm.

Looking for a place to stay? Check out what we have available for your dates.

Calling all foodies! If you’re looking for a fun and delicious way to eat your way through Kona, look no further than Food Truck Fridays! This popular event is held in the mauka side of the Target parking lot, and features a wide variety of food trucks serving up everything from barbecue and pizza to Thai and Mexican food. There’s also local coffee, to-die-for desserts, seafood, and local grinds. Plus, there are vendors for more shopping to enjoy.

 

Food Truck Fridays is the perfect place to bring the whole family for a fun night out. With so many different food options to choose from, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

Food Options Galore

One of the best things is the wide variety of food options available. Whether you’re in the mood for something savory or sweet, there’s sure to be a food truck that has what you’re craving.

Some of the regular vendors at include:

  • Jillian’s Caribbean Fusion
  • Wilson’s Snack Shack
  • Sugar’s Hawaii BBQ & Desserts (Ube Cheesecake because I love anything ube!)
  • Big Island Provisions
  • Aloha de Nada Empanadas
  • Califas Mexican Food (Their fish tacos!!!)

These are just a few of the many food trucks that participate in Food Truck Fridays. With so many different options to choose from, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.

Fun for the Whole Family

Food Truck Fridays isn’t just about the food. It’s also a great place to bring the whole family for a fun night out. In addition to all the great food, there are local  vendors selling a variety of goods. And with plenty of space to run around, kids are sure to have a blast.

So, what are you waiting for? Mark your calendars and come hungry!

Food Truck Fridays Logo

Don’t Miss Food Truck Fridays!

Food Truck Fridays is a weekly event that you don’t want to miss. With so many different food options to choose from, and local  vendors for shopping, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, come on down to the mauka side of the Target parking lot, 4-8pm every Friday  and experience it for yourself!

Looking for a place to stay? Check out what we have available for your dates.

Finding The Big Island’s Top Attractions

Kailua-Kona beckons travelers with its captivating natural beauty, rich history, and diverse cultural offerings. This quick guide will help you find Kona’s top attractions, ensuring an unforgettable and enriching experience for every visitor.

Kona’s Natural Wonders

  • Hapuna Beach beckons travelers with its pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters. This iconic beach is a haven for swimmers, snorkelers, and sunbathers alike. Bask in the warm Hawaiian sun, immerse yourself in the refreshing ocean, and marvel at the vibrant marine life that inhabits the nearby coral reefs. Hapuna Beach offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Kona’s top attractions.
  • Make your way to Kahalu’u Bay, a picturesque haven for snorkeling and surfing enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the vibrant underwater world, teeming with colorful fish, graceful sea turtles, and the occasional eel. Snorkelers of all levels will delight in exploring the shallow reefs, while experienced and beginner surfers can tackle the challenging waves that break along the bay’s outer edge. Kahalu’u Bay offers a perfect blend of tranquility and adventure, making it a top destination for water sports enthusiasts visiting Kona.
  • Kua Bay, a secluded gem, is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the breathtaking Hawaiian sunsets. Wade in the crystal-clear waters or join the body surfers and boogie boarders catching a wave. As the sun begins its descent, Kua Bay transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, casting a golden glow over the surrounding landscape. Whether you seek relaxation or adventure, Kua Bay offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle, allowing you to reconnect with nature and create lasting memories.
  • Keauhou Bay: Bask in the tranquility of this stunning bay, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Marvel at the vibrant marine life, including colorful fish, graceful sea turtles, and playful dolphins.

View of Palm trees

Cultural Immersion in Kona

  • Huliheʻe Palace: Step back in time at this historic palace, once the summer residence of Hawaiian royalty. Admire its elegant architecture, explore its fascinating exhibits, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the past.
  • Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park: Discover the sacred refuge where ancient Hawaiians sought sanctuary. Explore ancient temples, learn about the kapu system, and witness the power of Hawaiian traditions.
  • Kona Historical Society Museum: Delve into Kona’s rich past at this captivating museum. Peruse historical artifacts, uncover intriguing stories, and gain a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural heritage.
  • Moku’aikaua Church: Admire the architectural beauty of this historic church, a testament to Kona’s missionary history. Immerse yourself in its serene atmosphere and learn about its role in shaping the community.

Outdoor Adventures in Kona

  • Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park: Journey through this coastal park, offering breathtaking views of the ocean, ancient Hawaiian fishponds, and diverse wildlife. Hike along scenic trails, explore archaeological sites, and uncover the secrets of Kona’s natural and cultural history.
  • Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary: Embark on a hike through this lush sanctuary, home to a diverse array of native plants and animals. Discover hidden waterfalls, navigate through dense vegetation, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Hawaiʻi’s unique ecosystem.
  • Mauna Kea: Venture to the summit of this majestic mountain, the tallest in the world when measured from its base on the ocean floor. Experience breathtaking views, witness a dazzling array of stars at night, and learn about the cultural significance of this sacred site.

Culinary Delights of Kona

  • Huggo’s on the Rocks: Savor exquisite seafood and Pacific Rim cuisine while enjoying breathtaking oceanfront views. Indulge in culinary creations that showcase the flavors of Hawaiʻi, paired with an extensive wine list.
  • Da Poke Shack: Embark on a culinary adventure at this renowned poke shack, offering a wide variety of fresh and flavorful poke bowls. Customize your bowl with a choice of bases, proteins, toppings, and sauces to create a dish that tantalizes your taste buds.
  • Pine Tree Cafe: Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at this local favorite, serving up classic dishes with a touch of Aloha spirit. Enjoy fluffy pancakes, savory omelets, and aromatic Kona coffee to fuel your Kona explorations.
  • Kona Coffee Living History Farm: Embark on a journey through the history of Kona’s renowned coffee industry. Stroll through lush coffee fields, witness traditional farming techniques, and savor the aroma of freshly roasted beans.

Plan Your Kona Adventure

Exploring the Big Island is a journey filled with natural wonders, cultural immersion, and culinary delights. From ancient Hawaiian history to breathtaking outdoor adventures, Kona offers a kaleidoscope of experiences that will leave a lasting impression.

Looking for a place to stay? Check out what we have available for your dates.

Daytripping from Kona or Hilo

Along the southeastern coast of the Big Island, Punalu’u Beach and Papakōlea Beach attract travelers with their distinctive charm, each offering a beautiful experience worthy of the scenic drive required to reach them.

Postcard of Punalu'u Beach in 1965

Black Sand Beach / Punalu’u Beach

At Punalu’u Beach, the striking contrast of black sands against the blue waters of the ocean and the green canopy is magical. Snorkeling enthusiasts love the variety of marine life in these clear waters. Schools of vibrant fish dart among the coral reefs, while graceful sea turtles glide effortlessly, their movements a testament to the serene rhythm of island life. This is a very popular beach for sea turtles and they are easy to spot basking on the warm black sand. 

Green Sand Beach / Papakōlea Beach

About 24 miles further along the coast, the rugged views give way to the hidden gem of Papakōlea Beach, also known as the Green Sand Beach. This is one of only four green sand beaches in the world. The scenic hike is under 3 miles each way through windswept cliffs and coastal scrub. The gorgeous hike is worth taking but if 5+ miles of hiking seems like too much there are local drivers who will take you either or both ways for a small fee. The beach is beautiful but be cautious in the water as there can be a very strong current. More information about the hike here!

A word of caution: Do not drive your own vehicle and, more specifically, do not take your rental car past the parking lot! 

View of Papakolea BeachImage by BigIslandHikes.com

Eating Along the Way

Onward to food! The well-known Punulu’u Bakeshop has delicious malasadas, sandwiches, and plate lunches. The garden is a peaceful spot for a coffee and mango malasada. Another great option is the Aloha Mix food truck just across the street. They are known for steak and shrimp plates and acai bowls.   

One more little side trip a few miles further! Although I am not this type of thrill seeker, watching the cliff jumpers at Southpoint is pretty exciting and a little nerve-wracking. Sure go ahead and jump if that’s your thing but just watching will be enough for most of us! Walk another 100ft south to the Southernmost point in the US.

On Image – include link to https://bigislandnow.com/2017/05/11/crusin-ka-lae-south-point-with-tita-nui/

“The actual Southernmost tip of the United States is just past the metal light beacon to the left and toward the coast. Follow the low rock wall, actually an ancient Hawaiian ruin called Kalalea Heiau, to the edge where the frenzied ocean punishes the rugged coastline with its power. Please do not touch or sit on the rock wall as it is a sacred site.” (Hawaii Guide

Enjoy your day trip to Punalu’u and Papakōlea beaches, the rugged beauty of the volcanic landscape, and the great local food choices.

Check out lodging that is available for your dates.

Tucked away on the vibrant Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, the quaint town of Captain Cook offers a treasure trove of experiences for those looking to spend an unforgettable afternoon. From gastronomical delights and rich coffee heritage to historical excursions, Captain Cook provides a diverse palette of activities. Whether your interests lie in culinary explorations, immersing yourself in local culture, or outdoor adventures, this idyllic Hawaiian haven is poised to deliver an afternoon filled with discovery and enjoyment.

A Flavorful Start with Lunch at a Local Gem

Shaka Tacoz logo There’s no better initiation into the heart of Captain Cook than indulging in a lunch at the town’s beloved spot, Shaka Tacoz. Picture yourself biting into savory tacos or unwrapping a burrito packed with fresh, local flavors, setting the stage for an afternoon of adventure. This meal isn’t just about satisfying hunger; it’s an introduction to the local culinary scene, a first step into the vibrant culture of Captain Cook that energizes you for the experiences ahead. Pick your entree, pick your protein, pick your sauce.

Pro Tip: You can’t go wrong with their fish taco with verde sauce

Savor the Essence of Hawaii on a Coffee Plantation Tour

Following a delightful lunch, immerse yourself in the aromatic world of Hawaiian coffee with a visit to Captain Cook’s renowned coffee plantations. Captain Cook takes pride in its high-quality coffee, and a tour across these verdant plantations offers an in-depth look into the journey of coffee, from the earth to your cup. Engaging with passionate farmers and tasting the rich, freshly brewed coffee amidst the picturesque landscapes not only enlightens you about coffee production but also deeply connects you with the local heritage of this region. Greenwell Coffee Farm has a great free tour every day. It’s about 45 minutes and includes free samples before and after the tour

Traverse the Path to the Captain Cook Monument

With your spirit uplifted by the rich flavors of Hawaiian coffee, it’s time to venture on a hike to the iconic Captain Cook Monument. This expedition is more than a physical journey; it’s an exploration of history and natural beauty. The trail winds through vibrant greenery, offering spectacular views of the coastline and immersing you in Hawaii’s lush landscape. As you reach the monument, you’re not only greeted by breathtaking views of the ocean but also by a wealth of historical insight into Captain Cook’s explorations. The hike is a popular trek for snorkelers who will explore the beautiful reef  but is a great hike with or without a dip in the ocean.

The view on the hike to Kealakekua Bay

The Enchantment of Spending an Afternoon in Captain Cook, Hawaii

Choosing to spend an afternoon in Captain Cook, Hawaii, means embarking on a journey filled with diverse and enriching experiences. From the culinary adventure that begins with lunch at Shaka Tacoz to the educational and sensory delight of touring coffee plantations, and the historical exploration on the hike to the Captain Cook Monument, Captain Cook encapsulates the vibrant spirit of Hawaii. It’s a destination where adventure and tranquility coexist, history merges with natural beauty, and every moment is an invitation to dive deeper into the island’s allure.

  • Culinary Adventure: Begin your journey with a taste of the island’s flavors that energizes you for the day ahead.
  • Coffee Plantation Exploration: Experience the world of coffee production firsthand and indulge in the finest Hawaiian brews.
  • Historical Excursion: Combine physical activity with a dive into history as you trek to the celebrated Captain Cook Monument.

A Journey to Cherish

An afternoon spent in Captain Cook, Hawaii, transcends mere activities; it’s an immersive experience that engages your senses, broadens your knowledge, and leaves you with lasting memories. Whether it’s enjoying the local cuisine, awakening your senses with the aroma of coffee, or marveling at historical sites, each moment is a step into the vibrant heart of Hawaii. When planning your next adventure, consider setting aside an afternoon to uncover the myriad wonders Captain Cook has to offer and let this enchanting locale captivate your heart.

Looking for lodging in the area? Check availability here

Honokohau Beach, Hawaii

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park on Hawaii’s Kona coast offers a unique blend of nature and history along its scenic coastal trails. Spend a day immersed in native Hawaiian culture while exploring this rugged lava landscape from various trailhead options.

Three Trailheads Lead to Discovery

The first trailhead starts at the Ho’okipa Welcome Center, the park’s main visitor center. From here, connect to the shoreline trail that winds along the coast, leading you past fishponds and Honokōhau Harbor. Scan the winter horizon for humpback whales!

Another trailhead is located off Kaloko Road, allowing you to explore the large Kaloko fishpond and view remnants of an ancient Hawaiian settlement. Follow the uneven path, visualizing life for the early Hawaiians.

The third trailhead option begins the adventure at Honokōhau Harbor. Take a short walk to the coastal trail that opens up to secluded coves and wide views of Kealakekua Bay. Time the tides to discover small beaches for swimming and picnicking below the cliffs.

Discover Hawaii’s Past and Present

No matter where your journey begins, you’ll encounter vestiges of both old and new Hawaii. Massive fishponds built by Hawaiians hundreds of years ago remain intact, demonstrating advanced engineering capabilities. Spot remnants of sluice gates used to control water flow.

The trails also connect fishing communities past and present, from the quaint village of Miloli’i to the modern Honokōhau Harbor. Compare grass shacks to houseboats and throw nets to pole fishing while listening to tales from today’s fishermen.

Rugged Lava Contrasts with Beach Oases

Hawaii’s natural diversity shines along the trails, shifting from rough lava flows to smooth kiawe forests to picturesque beaches. Watch your step on uneven terrain while enjoying sweeping coastal views. Remember sun protection as you traverse exposed lava!

The beach, like many Big Island beaches, can be rocky and rugged.  This makes entering the water tricky in most spots. Along the south end, there is a sandier area that is a little softer on the feet. The water doesn’t get very deep within the area between the beach and the fishponds.

Linger at Sunset

Time your hike so you end at Honokōhau Harbor in time to watch the sunset over the Kona coastline. As you walk north along the coast you will lose count of the number of sea turtles that are snacking on in the waves. Relax as you watch them peacefully making their way to shore for the night.

Honokohau beach honu

Return Again and Again

One day is not enough to soak up all that Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park has to share. Come back at different times of day and seasons of the year to experience the contrasts. Wander different trail combinations to uncover new gems hidden along this special coastline steeped in Hawaiian cultural heritage.

The Adventure Continues at Honokōhau

As you wander along the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park coast, you’ll walk past beaches, boat harbors, fishponds, lava fields, and scenic lookouts. If you love history and hiking as much as we do, you’ll want to plan a walk back in time along the unique 4-mile trail found within this park.

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian history while also enjoying the island’s perfect weather and picturesque setting. 

So what are you waiting for? Lace up your hiking shoes, pack a big picnic, and head out to create your own adventure through history and nature at Honokōhau!

Looking for accommodations in the area? Check availability here

The Big Island of Hawaii is a true food lover’s paradise. From the island’s bountiful farms and orchards to its talented chefs putting creative twists on traditional Hawaiian cuisine, there is something to tantalize every palate. Here are a few of our Big Island Restaurant Picks, and markets that visitors must experience to truly appreciate the diverse flavors of the Big Island.

A few of our Big Island Restaurant Picks

Dining with a view of majestic volcanoes or crashing waves is easy to find on the Big Island. Some restaurants not to miss include:

Ocean view with the Coffee Shack restaurant

The Coffee Shack 

Known as one of the best places for breakfast south of Kona, this roadside cafe impresses foodies with its menu of breakfast bowls, acai smoothies, avocado toast and more. Sip an iced latte on the deck overlooking the lush Kona coast. Line up early. It’s worth the wait!

Sunset Kai Lanai

This newly renovated (and new ownership) open-air restaurant is perched just steps from a picturesque west Hawaii sunset viewpoint. Visitors rave about the fresh poke, seared ahi and killer mai tais while taking in the dramatic coastal views. Save room for the Key Lime Pie.

Merriman’s

Top chef Peter Merriman sources over 90% of his ingredients from local Hawaiian farms. His signature wok charred Ahi tuna and Molokai sweet potato gnocchi are standouts at his Waimea restaurant. Eat inside or outside under the stars.

 

Markets Bursting with Tropical Flavors

From colorful farmers markets to food trucks dishing out local specialties, the Big Island offers plenty of tasty and affordable options for trying authentic Hawaiian foods.

Pure Kona Green Markets

Every Sunday, local farmers and food artisans sell fresh produce, baked goods, coffee, chocolate and prepared foods. Look for lilikoi butter, guava jam, tropical fruit popsicles, live music, and more. 

Cook’s Bounty Fruitstand

Any day of the week you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee, honey, coconuts, juices and more. Since the big farmer’s markets are typically only open one day a week, this fruit stand in Captain Cook has saved the day many, many times. They don’t have a website but they have an address!

Check here for more great food spots